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1st National Bank Robbed November 4, 1868

One of The Bandits is Caught, the Other Escapes.

Two of Our Citizens Are Shot.
-New Castle Courier-

   About two O'clock on Friday night last, Mr. T. L. Campbell, a clerk in the store of Mowrer, Murphey & Company, who sleeps in the East room on the second floor of the store building house, heard burglars at work, he rightly supposed, on the bank's safe. After maturing a plan of action. Mr. Campbell dressed himself quickly, and went quickly down stairs to the West front door, which he unlocked without noise. When the door began to turn upon its hinges, he discovered that there was something pressing against it on the outside and binding between the knob and the doorframe. He put his hand through the opening and found a large stick of wood leaning against the door, which he quietly took in. He passed out - closed the door - replaced the stick, and went for help.

The Situation of The Bank.

   It stands with the West side against the store building and fronts north on Broad Street. The bank has an entrance in front and one in the rear. The building contains three rooms and a hall. The front room is used for banking purposes; it contains the safe and other necessary furniture. The next room is the presidents; by the side of this is a hall leading from the front to the back room. This hall is open at the front room, but closed at the other by a door, which was locked. The robbers affected an entrance through the back room - they removed the locks and made preparation for a hurried exit in case they should be discovered. They then proceeded to business. They inserted a number of small steel pointed wedges between the edges of the outer doors; then by driving them alternately, one of the doors was forced open - its bolts and fastenings bent and broken as though they had been made of wax. The middle doors were forced in the same manner. They obtained about $30 as a kind of a retainer and as a forecast of joys to come when they entered into the "burglar box," when Campbell returned with about a dozen men - about half of them cautiously approached the front, and the other half the rear entrance. The robbers were completely surrounded while busily engaged upon their contract; and were only informed of the presence of an enemy by a demonstration upon the rear of the building. They made a rush for the front door, but vigorous application of boulders drove them back. James Mowrer and Campbell rushed in after them. One of the robbers ran through the president's room, while the other tried to escape through the hall but he found the door locked; as he turned to escape the way he came, he was grappled by Jim Mowrer, after a short struggle the robber freed himself from the grasp of his foe; when they exchanged a few shots, one of which passed through Mr. Campbell's right arm about five inches below the shoulder joint; the robber then dashed through the front door, turned West on Broad Street, with Mowrer, Bond and others in hot pursuit; he turned north on Main Street, ran fifty yards, turned again to the West. Ran through an old cellar and fell into a ditch - when Jim Mowrer sprang upon him and presented a death warrant at his head in the shape of a heavy revolver, and demanded his unconditional and immediate surrender, which preposition was accepted without debate, and the professional scoundrel marched off to jail. The other robber, when the attack commenced in front, ran through the open door of the president's room, crossed the back room and out through the rear door; he was received by a pistol shot from Mr. A. J. Chambers, which compliment he returned with a will. They fired three shots apiece at each other in quick succession. Mr. Chamber's last shot brought the robber to the ground - but he sprang up and ran out into the street - he then took across lots, was chased some distance - but he finally escaped. The first shot fired at Mr. Chambers, passed so near his right ear, that he put his hand up to see if it was not torn from his head; the second passed through his thigh missing bone and the main artery making a severe, though not a dangerous flesh wound. The third round passed through his coat just above the hip. There were but three pistols in the hands of our citizens, or the thieves might not have escaped with their lives.
   If such men cannot be convicted and sent to prison for life they had better have been shot when, or before they were captured. For you might just as well try to reform a hyena or the devil himself as a professional robber. Not one in a hundred of them ever reform, they are a constant scourge to society; and the sooner their worthless lives are extinguished, the better it will be for the rest of the world.
   The villain that is now in jail, after shooting at Jim Mowrer twice, sending one bullet through his coat near his heart, and the other close to his head - has impudence to request of the jailor the privilege of sending for some scoundrel to come and kill Mowrer. He jokes about the matter as though it was a very small thing - He evidently expects to be set at liberty by his friends at an early day. The protection of society demands that he be kept in irons, and that strangers are not allowed to see him on any pretext whatever. He has some bullet holes through his clothes, and one thigh is slightly marked by a ball. The robber that escaped, is thought to be badly wounded.

T. L. Campbell

   The man who had his arm so badly shattered in the attack upon the bank robbers the other night is doing as well as could be expected. The wound is a bad one, and will necessarily cause a great deal of pain, which added to the loss of time and increased expense, makes it a very serious affair to him. He will probably save his arm, though it will never be as useful as before. Mr. Campbell is a young man just beginning in life with nothing to depend upon but his own energy and industry - not being burdened by a surplus of worldly goods. He has shown more daring then most men posses - periled his life and been severely wounded, perhaps maimed permanently in his heroic attempt to save the cash in the vaults of the 1st National Bank of New Castle. Would it be presumptuous to ask the bank to pay him for his time and expenses until he is able for duty again, and then give him a thousand dollars as reasonable compensation for services rendered them in the preservation of their property? We think not; and we believe the stockholders of the 1st National Bank will be glad to show their appreciation of his services by such a reasonable appropriation.

J. A. Chambers

   One of the wounded at the battle of the bank is getting along all right. His is simply a flesh wound - the bone and large blood vessels escaped injury - but to be perforated with pistol balls is not a very pleasant operation, under the most favorable circumstance. Mr. Chamber's wound will keep him confined to his room for three to four weeks - a pretty big undertaking for a young man in the full vigor of health.
   The bank safe was utterly ruined by the robbers on Friday night; and Judge Bundy; the bank president, started for Cincinnati within two hours after the robbery, and ordered a new safe made, at the cost of $3,500. It is to have all of the new improvements, and will be as strong as any made in the United States. Persons wishing to deposit in the 1st National Bank, need have no fears about the safety of their funds in the future.

Next Update:
Bank Robber Escapes From County Jail.

UEB 2004

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